Presence, including vocal presence, has a lot to do with posture. When you enter a room with a relaxed open posture, neck in alignment supporting your head – you feel free, relaxed and open. Real presence happens when it’s your everyday posture and you don’t need to change it. Dancers have great posture – their muscles and spine support each other, a lot of actors have great posture. If you’re in a cafe on the Tottenham Court Road you can spot the RADA students with their straight and lifted backs – as they’ve done Alexander (a lot). Osteopaths are great for realigning you. If you do 8 hours at your desk with a computer everyday and haven’t got time to do yoga or pilates, osteopaths can release vertebrae that have become compressed.
Alexander is a great technique and can be readily incorporated into your daily life, as once you know the technique you can use it all the time. You can use Alexander mindfulness to pay attention to your body, especially when you’re tired and stressed or both.
Frederick Alexander, an Australian actor introduced the technique to the UK in 1904. He had problems with a hoarse voice, which he understood to be caused by nervous tension in his body. He felt that “we translate everything, whether physical, mental or spiritual into muscular tension”. When our muscles aren’t relaxed we compress the neck and spine and our voice struggles.